5 varieties of content material that aren't weblog posts
Everyone knows how important blogging is to your business growth. As the backbone of most acquisition plans, a marketer's dream is to have a fully functional, insightful blog that will drive traffic, generate leads, and generate revenue.
However, blogging may not be the only thing your business does in 2020.
Written blog articles are great – they are easy to consume, informative, diverse, and extremely engaging when well written. Given the number of social channels through which you can reach customers, expanding your content repertoire (and reach) is an important part of any company's long-term content marketing plan.
Every platform, from your blog to your Facebook and Instagram page to your email list, has a unique way to reach customers. But the content you produce needs to be just as well thought out as the messages you want to convey.
There are many types of content that you can create depending on your social channel. You just need to know where to start. Fortunately, there is plenty of statistical and anecdotal evidence to guide you to the content you need.
However, before delving into the different types of content you can create, it is important to understand why you need to diversify your content portfolio.
The importance of content diversity
Sometimes you need to expand beyond a blog post. And that's basically because your customers don't always have to see a blog post.
Depending on where they are in your funnel, they may need to see something completely different – something that will be more effective and engaging when they are there.
The best way to understand this is to understand the customer value journey. If you can understand and memorize the steps in the CVJ, you can understand what to give your clients so they can move on to the next step.
Note: It's not always a blog post. And here is the reason:
Blog posts are a really effective content type in the awareness phase of the YMCA. You can help people remember your brand, learn what you are doing, and hopefully learn about the process about your industry, company, or the specific problem you are solving. Blog posts can even be good at other stages, but different content is required at different stages.
In the awareness phase, short blog posts help make your brand known. In the Engage phase, long blog posts can be effective because of their information and credibility. At the subscription stage, a free blog post is likely not the type of content you need to achieve your goal: get your customers to sign up and give you their information.
For that, a lead magnet or exclusive content for your customer who already knows who you are would be much more effective and enticing.
Once you understand how content works in the context of the customer value journey, you can understand which content types are effective at each stage. Then all you have to do is focus on creating valuable content.
As everyone knows, the value your content offers is really important to generating customers.
(Unless you really have your CVJ or customer avatar pinned down, do it ASAP before posting any more content, blog, or other content. That way, you can do better in content marketing and otherwise understand steps you need to take to be successful.
And then you can create all the content you need to get you moving on the journey.
5 different types of content
We've talked about it a thousand times and even blogged about it recently, but here we should say it again …
Videos are an extremely effective type of content. Indeed, video content can be that most important type of content to have in 2021.
That's because people are watching videos more than ever. The rise of video was inevitable. But the popularity has grown so fast that now every company needs to figure out how to keep up.
And those who have incredible success in content marketing….
Just look at the stats of other content marketers like you. 80% of video markets said that video helped them increase sales and 87% said it increased traffic to their website. Video has been shown to produce results – and the best part is that it is diverse.
Video can inform, entertain and captivate. It can do all three things at the same time, and it can do them exclusively. There really is no limit to what video can offer. This is the reason why people use video so much, whether it is a commercial, a how-to video, or anything in between.
Because of this, video can be effective at almost any point in the customer value journey. But they are really effective in the first two steps of YMCA because they do a great job of raising awareness and are extremely dedicated.
You can find ways to use videos later in the CVJ, e.g. For example, when creating a challenge video to create excitement, or customer testimonials to stand up for your brand.
If you want to learn more about how to make great videos, check out our blog post. And when you do, you will find that a different type of content is attached …
If you checked out this blog post, what did you think of the infographic?
I'll be your first thought that it was informative, unique, or aesthetically pleasing.
You see, infographics are similar to blog posts but have a head start on a typical blog.
They are pretty to look at.
People like infographics because they can provide a lot of useful information. They also make this information very consumable and easy to understand. And most importantly, the clarity drives people to buy your product or use your service.
Infographics are great for generating engagement. Just look at what we did with our video infographic. It adds another aspect to our elongated blog post and strengthens the whole post as well as the information we want to convey. It can also be downloaded so that users can use it anytime.
Infographics are sure to help people remember who you are and what you do. This is mainly because your customers can get so much out of them. And with a little creativity and a good graphic designer (or a Canva account), they really aren't that difficult to make.
The beauty of tools as a content type is that they are useful. The other nice thing is that it is them interactive.
The ability to interact with something and use it in your own way makes it not only useful but also memorable. That's why tools are such a good type of content: people can get value from them, and they can do it themselves.
Just like how you first used crayons as a child, or how our ancestors reacted to the first hammer, your customers should react the same way to the tools you give them. They are cool, useful, and tangible.
The only problem is knowing which tool to deploy in the first place.
There is no right or wrong answer here as it all depends on what you are doing and what problem you are solving. For us, we created a tool called the Content Calculator that will help you understand and forecast your metrics (traffic and sales) based on the amount of content you've created. Pretty cool tool, right?
If you are into digital marketing, this might be a tool that your customers can use to craft their marketing plan. If you're a personal fitness trainer, this might be a tool your clients can use to track their fitness and eating habits. In all honesty, the possibilities are endless.
Regardless of the tool, however, it is best to use it to get users to subscribe.
That said, don't give it away for free. If they don't persuade them to convert by buying, they should at least sign up for your email list or give you their contact information. That way, once they have received some value for your tool, you can meet them with another offer.
And they'll probably like you by now, since your tool was so great.
Challenges are great. They're inclusive, fun, exciting, and encourage interaction between your brand and your customers.
And the final piece is why they're really useful. This is also the reason why challenges are completely different from the other three types of content mentioned above.
Challenges are not really intended to generate new customers. It's supposed to make your existing ones happy.
They can be a great way to retain your already satisfied customers or to recruit some customers who may not have bought or opened your emails in a long time. You enable your customers to actually achieve something cool while keeping your brand in view.
And when you combine your challenges with some prizes for the winners, people take part every time.
The only problem is like above: there is no one challenge that works for everyone. They will all depend on what your company is. For us, it's marketing challenges that help our clients and partners learn a new skill or review something in their marketing plan. Maybe it just shows the great job they have already done.
No matter what it is, that is the end goal: to present your customers. It's about giving them something they can accomplish and then showing them some appreciation. That's why they work very well in the excite phase.
Who said that content is only there to keep people interested? Even for someone who has bought from you 100 times, generating content for them can do wonders for your business (and customer retention rate).
5. Case studies
Last but not least, case studies are a great form of content that engages people at the different stages of your customer value journey. That's because everyone finds them alluring and interesting.
Whether you're trying to reach new customers or customers who have been with you for 10 years, people love success stories. They're inspirational and give something for your customers to strive for, and they also show how your product helped them achieve something meaningful.
That makes case studies sound like customer testimonials. And while they are similar, there is one very significant difference: It has to be your customer, not you.
While you should mention that they used your service, your case study shouldn't be about that. It should be the cool thing or milestone your customer was able to achieve. By making it customer-centric rather than business-centric, you can engage your audience in your customer's story. That will only increase their desire to achieve something like this on their own.
And they will still associate their success with your brand. If anything, they want to end up being the next case study featured on your website.
Case studies can do a lot of things at once and really aren't any more difficult to create than a regular blog post. All you have to do is reach out to your customer and talk to them. If they have had a lot of success, I promise they will be happy to tell you about it.
While blog posts are the backbone of most content marketing plans (and should by no means be underestimated), there are many content options that can help you reach your audience in new ways.
If you use them and use them effectively, you shouldn't have a problem growing your business and audience.